Schweitzer Fellows Help Adults Living with Mental Illness

Two of Ohio State's Schweitzer Fellows were featured by the national Albert Schweitzer Fellowship web site. An exerpt is below:

Schweitzer Fellow Samantha Sanderson’s knows firsthand about the difficulties of living with mental illness: both of her parents have psychiatric diagnoses and they faced challenges in their community in part due to societal stigma about mental illness. Schweitzer Fellow Samantha Lavach also saw the effects of stigma early on in her work with people with mental illness—including her own incorrect beliefs and assumptions about this population.

Their individual experiences inspired the two graduate students of occupational therapy at The Ohio State University School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences to develop The Mindfulness Yoga Program for adults living with chronic mental illness. Lavach and Sanderson implemented the program at Southeast, Inc., a comprehensive community mental health agency in Columbus, OH, with assistance from Yoga on High, a local yoga studio. The adaptive, client-centered yoga program aims to increase community integration, social participation and health and wellness—all key components of mental health recovery—for participants. The program includes aspects of self awareness and physical health, enhances social interaction for participants and encourages them to become active members of their community by giving them a sense of purpose and belonging.

The Mindfulness Yoga Program reflects an observation of Albert Schweitzer’s that Lavach is fond of quoting: “Healthcare doesn’t just occur in our doctors’ offices and our hospitals. It occurs where we live, where we work, where we play, and where we pray.”

The full article is available on the Albert Schweitzer Fellowship web site.

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